When the bags work, they are great. It makes storage for our down filled comforter easy. This makes the large comforter fit in a small space for storage during the warm season and the comforter is easily "tossed" back into being fluffy. When the bags don't work they seem to leak down after a couple of days. I have not tried to use garbage bags and if they work it would be much cheaper (I like cheaper).
Good fortune either way, redbeard
My opinion of space bags is that they were a good idea that didn't quite work. They tear easily and they get brittle and crack very quickly. The closures were flimsy and came off or broke very quickly.
I was on a trip in Hawii and was having trouble fitting everything into my suitcase for my return, since I bought so much while there. So I took a chance and tried the spacebags from a local store. Well I was impressed as they did the job. They were helpful, but not as great as the commercials make them sound but they are a great help.
I'm not seeing the same problems you guys are having either. I've used them on two of my Army deployments and as long as you don't abuse them they work great. It makes packing 4 sets of ACUs and cold weather gear a snap in my bag. Take care of them and don't subject them to abuse and they will work great. I didn't like the ones you "had" to use a vacuum for but now they have ones you can roll the air out. They are hands down better than the old ones. A lot of people in my unit are using them to compress down their gear and keep it clean and dry.
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What about space bags? Are they reliable or are they a waste of money?